This morning there was a Classis North in the Free Reformed Churches of Australia. For those who don’t know, a classis is an occasional meeting consisting of delegates from local churches in a certain region. At our classis this morning, we had a proposal from the church at Melville regarding church visitation and child protection requirements. Each year each of the churches is visited by a pair of pastors. They inquire as to the well-being of the church and its adherence to the agreed-upon Church Order. It’s a form of accountability within our church federation. Melville proposed to add a question to the visitation guidelines regarding the protection of children. This proposal was adopted. The decision reads as follows:
Classis decided to add the following question to the adopted Church Visitation Guidelines:
What policies and procedures does the consistory have in place to protect the safety and well-being of children in the various aspects of congregational life?
1. It will assist in ensuring that the church visitation is done for the edification and preservation of Christ’s Church (cf. Church Order art. 44).
2. It is important that all churches endeavour to do what they can to cultivate a safe and godly environment in which our children can be ministered to and instructed.
3. It would be good for the churches to encourage and assist one another in developing their own child protection policies and church visitations are a good avenue to encourage this.
4. Being regularly asked about matters pertaining to child protection will help ensure that these policies and procedures remain current in the local church setting.
5. Our churches do not live in isolation from one another, and the actions or failures of one church with respect to child protection can have a considerable effect on the rest of the FRCA.